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The Ketchum Report

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Particle Noun

Sas, do you think it is *possible* that whatever journal this may have been submitted to made a special request to keep a lid on it so as to avoid a barrage of queries from the many many interested parties who would no doubt reach out with questions, if the journal were named?

I'm only asking if this is theoretically possible, that a journal might shift its rules when dealing with a topic so controversial. I would imagine scientific journals would be a stickler for their own guidelines, but I can also imagine a scenario where a study such as this, if it had the goods as claimed, might be huge enough to warrant an adjustment to normal policy.

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southernyahoo

I think everyone knows what would happen if the Journal's name was known.

Just an example here but Nature says....

http://www.nature.com/authors/policies/confidentiality.html

Nature journal authors must not discuss contributions with the media (including other scientific journals) until the publication date; advertising the contents of any contribution to the media may lead to rejection.

You couldn't advertise your contributions to a journal unless you named the journal. So you can't name it if you are a pending author in Nature. Call it what you want, embargo or silence policy, but if Nature has that policy I'm sure others follow. Media, could also mean social media, as in forums ,blogs, facebook etc.

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Particle Noun

Wow, I know I've read that before, but that pretty clearly lays out the exact situation we have here.

The only version of the paper that could be submited is a pre-submission one, and I think in this case there are indications that things have changes a lot since then, so why throw out pre-peer reviewed results to a pack of hungry wolves?

And with this topic, there really is no scientific conference that she could discuss an abstract at, everything would be highly attended by bloggers and the like.

I don't see how that stated policy is much in conflict with the actions of Dr. Ketchum and her team. Thanks Southernyahoo.

Saskeptic, other than their team being probably a bit over careful, how would you disagree with their behavior as compared to that written journal policy?

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salubrious
Moderator

Its common with many journals scientific or not to have similar policies.

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Guest

^If you listen to Saskeptic and the others, they would tell you differently.

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Guest

Just an example here but Nature says....

http://www.nature.co...dentiality.html

There is little difference between Nature's confidentiality procedures and that of other journals (about 30 of them) for which I have served as a referee. You don't discuss aspects of the review with media.

There is, however, nothing keeping an author from sharing the name of journal to which a manuscript has been submitted. There is nothing in Nature's confidentiality statement preventing an author from doing that, and nothing I know of preventing such disclosure at any other journals in my realm of experience. We often don't see that publicly, however, because it could be irrelevant:

Scenario: I've got a manuscript in review with Nature.

I go to a conference to present some of my research that is included in that paper. I might say something in my presentation like "this analysis appears in a manuscript that is currently in peer-review." I would not name the journal because I would look like a fool if it was ultimately rejected by the journal.

I would include the journal name on my CV, but we academics use different versions of our CV for different purposes. When we apply for grants, we need to include an abridged version of our CVs. My full CV is about 24 pages long. For a grant proposal, they generally want that boiled down to 1 or 2 pages, so I'm not going to include superfluous items like lists of papers that are not yet published. In contrast, I would include my full CV as part of my annual appraisal package reviewed by my administration. I certainly do want them to know that I'm at least attempting to get published in a top notch journal like Nature even if there's no guarantee at that point that the paper will be accepted.

Saskeptic, other than their team being probably a bit over careful, how would you disagree with their behavior as compared to that written journal policy?

Over careful? Quite the opposite. My reaction to this story has been from the beginning that the authors should have revealed NOTHING about the research until it was accepted for publication.

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BFSleuth

Over careful? Quite the opposite. My reaction to this story has been from the beginning that the authors should have revealed NOTHING about the research until it was accepted for publication.

Excellent points, Sas.

My only response is that the nature of this particular research effort required revelation of the effort when she requested samples from the bigfooting community. The only way she could get samples was either to undertake collecting samples herself or through a private network, or to publish a request for submissions. Obviously the fast track method for samples with widespread geographic distribution was to publish a request.

This particular point is also in keeping with the recently published request from Dr. Sykes, which has now become hot news with the same story being regurgitated around the world (journalism echo effect). It is interesting that Dr. Sykes has also published a rather aggressive time line, while Dr. Ketchum is now rueing the day she ever talked about possible publication dates.

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Guest
My reaction to this story has been from the beginning that the authors should have revealed NOTHING about the research until it was accepted for publication.

Ok, I'm officially going to say "what the heck" to this one...you've been one of the loudest "debunkers" of Ketchum's secrecy on this thread...why won't she give us a pre-lim? Why isn't she presenting at conferences? Etc.

Now you want us to believe that you always thought she should have kept quiet?

Sorry, no sale Sas.

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southernyahoo

There is, however, nothing keeping an author from sharing the name of journal to which a manuscript has been submitted. There is nothing in Nature's confidentiality statement preventing an author from doing that, and nothing I know of preventing such disclosure at any other journals in my realm of experience. We often don't see that publicly, however, because it could be irrelevant:

From what I gather in Nature's policy, you could say you have submitted a paper to Nature before, and you could say this is my research that is in review, which you don't seem to condone, right? Who would believe some journal would review a bigfoot paper with real deal proof? However you could not say this is my research which is submitted to Nature and in review, because you are right, you could make fools out of the journal and yourself if it got rejected.

The safe play, is to not advertise either, supposing you didn't have to engage an entire community to aquire the samples, and wanted it published. I know you aren't sympathetic about that, but the only thing Dr. Ketchum is really guilty of is being optimistic on a publish date.

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Particle Noun

Ok, I'm officially going to say "what the heck" to this one...you've been one of the loudest "debunkers" of Ketchum's secrecy on this thread...why won't she give us a pre-lim? Why isn't she presenting at conferences? Etc.

Now you want us to believe that you always thought she should have kept quiet?

Sorry, no sale Sas.

Actually, I think SAS has been pretty consistent on that front. There were folks making statements like you make Mulder, but a scroll through the old threads brought me nothing like what you are attributing to Sas. In fact, one of the only things I could find directly related to that idea is remarkably consistent:

Bill is correct about how unusual such a paper would be, and that we probably should not expect it to follow the normal trajectory of any old paper. What I would expect is zero hype, zero leaks, and certainly not " our data is (sic) so awesome" statements from the lead author on a Facebook page.

Of course I could have missed some posts, but if nothing else, Sas is consistent in his criticisms.

Oh, and THURSDAY!

Edited by Particle Noun

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Cisco

Well.....chalk off one more Thursday, unless I missed it. There's always next week to look forward to.

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Darrell

I would say Saskeptic is pretty much spot on. My brother in law has a Phd in Micro Biology and is employed by a private company conducting cancer research. I discussed this with him and the Ketchum fiasco and he said the same thing. I think its important to look outside the bigfoot "community" for actual scientific research methods and proceedures. I dont know what is up with Melba Ketchum but everything seems much more complicated and fishy than it should be.

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BFSleuth

I suspect there may be something to Huff's contention that legal issues may be at work here. Most scientists aren't analyzing samples that are submitted by independent researchers that may have lawyered up for their own interests. If that's the case then it may have something to do with how this is dragging out. Just talking out loud here...

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Guest

. . . the only thing Dr. Ketchum is really guilty of is being optimistic on a publish date.

And "guilty" is too strong a word too, but the thing that rubbed me the wrong way from the get-go were the statements that it would be published. An author has very little idea that a given manuscript will be published until s/he receives a letter of acceptance from the editor.

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